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Students Unfurl 100' Petition Banner to Avoid “Sequester”

Sierra College students rallied at Rep. McClintock's office to deliver a giant banner made of petition signatures. They called on him to make corporations pay their fair share to avoid education cuts.

Granite bay – With Congress failing to reach a budget deal and avoid drastic cuts to education, student activists, organized by California Fair Share, gathered at Representative Tom McClintock’s district office yesterday to call on him to stop the sequester by closing corporate tax loopholes. The student unfurled and delivered to Representative McClintock’s office a giant, 100-foot banner constructed from over 600 petition signatures.

“Hundreds of citizens and dozens of student leaders have come together in the past few weeks to make one thing clear: we should close corporate tax loopholes, not make cuts that will lay-off teachers, police and firefighters,” said Patrick Stelmach, an organizer with California Fair Share.  “With California schools already overcrowded and underfunded, we cannot afford to slash education funding with reckless abandon. It is time to make corporations pay their fair share. Rep. McClintock should stand up for our kids’ future, not corporate profits.”

Massive tax loopholes for corporations are costing both federal and state governments billions of dollars.  Recent research shows that the federal government loses around $90 billion annually -- and California about $4 billion -- to foreign tax havens that allow corporations to hide their profits abroad without taxation.  In comparison, the “sequester” would cut $83 billion from the federal budget. The cuts will cost California schools $262 million in federal education funding, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“The detrimental budget cuts will further erode our education system. Ten thousand California students will lose access to vital grants and work study opportunities,” said Kristina Flores, President of the Sierra College Political Science Club. “Like most students, when I graduate from college, I will have $11,000 in loan debt and no guarantee of a job to pay it back. We can fix these problems by closing corporate tax loopholes and investing in education and job creation.”

“Rep. McClintock has an opportunity to stop budget cuts that will devastate our communities, and have money left over to reduce the deficit and invest in the middle class,” said Stelmach.  “While Rep. McClintock has stated he favors closing tax loopholes, we are disappointed that he insists on giving the money right back to those corporations through lowering tax rates. It’s a shame he would rather keep giving tax breaks to corporations, than properly fund our schools and support the middle class.”

The public overwhelming believes that corporations should pay more in taxes. A February 2013 poll by the national coalition Americans for Tax Fairness found that 64 percent of voters believe that corporations should pay more in taxes. The same study found that 80 percent of voters believe that closing corporate tax loopholes that benefit big corporations is an important budget goal.

The impacts of the sequester are raising concerns from economists and local leaders alike, including:

  • 1 million jobs lost;
  • 70,000 children dropped from Head Start;
  • 10,000 teaching jobs at risk; and
  • Small business loans reduced by $540 million.

“The hundreds of citizens and local leaders that have joined our campaign are putting Rep. McClintock on notice: stop giving corporations a free ride while the rest of us pay the fare.  By closing large corporate tax loopholes, Rep. McClintock can deliver a stronger economy and a stronger budget in 2013 without sacrificing the middle class,” said Stelmach.

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